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Casey DeSantis announces new education initiatives in Tallahassee

The program uses digital apps to help students learn.

Public school students across the state could soon begin using digital apps to help learn to read and do Math.

Education technology company Age of Learning is offering to let school districts use two of their digital apps from its online learning program, one for reading and one for Math, for free, as part of a pilot program for pre-k through 2nd graders. 

First Lady Casey DeSantis announced the pilot program Friday morning at the Leon County Public Library. She said the Mastering Math app is designed to teach children to recognize numbers and to start learning addition and subtraction. The Mastering Reading app helps kids learn to read on their own.

“What I really love about this technology is that it provides students the ability to learn how to read even if unfortunately they do not have the help of an adult,” she said. “It is something that is self-guided.”

Age of Learning CEO Paul Candland said the company is well known for their ABCmouse products, but what they’re bringing to Florida is the next generation.

“It’s adaptive learning that assesses each and every child in the classroom,” he said. “What they know, what they don’t know and creates a customized learning plan for each child.”

DeSantis said school districts planning to participate in the pilot include Charlotte, Franklin, Henry and St. Lucie. 

She also said she hopes to see more eligible children participate in the Reading Scholarships program. She said more than 8,000 are available through the state Department of Education. More than more than 5,600 students and their parents and currently taking advantage of them.

Third through fifth graders who attend public school are eligible for $500 savings accounts, which are available for those who didn’t do well on the English Language Arts section of the Florida Standard Assessment in the last year. 

They can help pay for fees, tutoring, literacy programs, curriculum and instructional materials. Step Up For Students administers it.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing setting the minimum public teacher’s salaries at $47,500 and new teacher bonuses, at a cost of $900 million. DeSantis is also proposing to replace the Best and Brightest bonus program. 

Written By

Sarah Mueller has extensive experience covering public policy. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2010. She began her career covering local government in Texas, Georgia and Colorado. She returned to school in 2016 to earn a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting. Since then, she’s worked in public radio covering state politics in Illinois, Florida and Delaware. If you'd like to contact her, send an email to sarah@floridapolitics.com.

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